Authentication Fundamentals

When Speed Isn’t Enough — Why Consumers Want More Security


In the hunt for the best products and services, it seems that consumers want three main things — quality, value for money and speed. But, when there’s a choice between speed and security, more consumers are prepared to wait a little longer for a higher guarantee of safety.

The Issue is Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real problem — around 7% of US adults are victims of identity theft each year. The main issues include:

  • Government documents/benefits fraud (34%)
  • Credit card fraud (17%)
  • Phone or utilities fraud (14%)
  • Bank fraud (8%)

With fraud per victim being around $3,500, it’s clear that more robust security is essential.

In fact, when asked, just 2 percent of consumers want speed over security when it comes to dealing with their money. Fourty percent are happy to provide a PIN when accessing their finances, and 50 percent wouldn’t mind providing further authentication like biometrics — for example a fingerprint, face or iris scan.

Consumers are Paying Attention

It’s clear that all the reporting on data breaches, hackers and malware are having an impact on the average consumer. More than ever, they’re more aware of the need to protect their personal data and stay safe. Of course, the impact isn’t just limited to consumers — there are two sides to every transaction, and businesses are suffering too.

In the UK, data suggests that 9 in 10 large businesses and 7 in 10 SMEs have suffered a security breach. As these breaches often expose business, personal or identity data, it shows consumers have every right to be concerned.

Protecting Consumers is Good for Business

The retail and banking environments are being radically transformed with new technology. Meanwhile, eCommerce giants, financial startups and more ARE disrupting the way we shop, save, spend and invest. It’s against this changing environment that consumer confidence needs to be rebuilt. People need to feel safe shopping, both online and off. They need to feel secure depositing or withdrawing money, and making financial decisions for themselves and their family.

Biometrics is the Answer

As more of our commercial transactions move into the mobile space, onto our smartphones and tablets, it’s essential that authentication technology keeps up. There’s good news here for multifactor and biometric authentication, as smartphones are increasingly being shipped with built-in fingerprint and face recognition technology.

As consumers become more aware, they’re also becoming more demanding — for security that’s as transparent as possible, that works whenever it’s needed, and that provides a real layer of extra protection.

Balancing Security and Speed

Businesses can’t forget about the user experience. Yes, it’s vital to have an extra layer of security, and reduce the risk of data theft, but that must not alienate the end user. If businesses want to build loyalty, they need to make the security process as easy-to-use and transparent as possible. Multifactor authentication is here to stay, but it’s only through making it a pleasant and natural part of any transaction that consumers will see it as a necessity rather than an inconvenience.

Explore how biometrics make everyday tasks easier for consumers in this post.

As marketing lead for Crossmatch, John is actively involved in championing identity management and biometrics technology solutions. His involvement and fascination with leveraging technology to address unique business challenges began earlier in his career, as Product Manager for GE’s Imagination Breakthrough innovation, VeriWise, a satellite-based asset intelligence and tracking solution for the transportation industry. He later went on to run sales and marketing for Vectronix, Inc., a subsidiary of a Switzerland-based producer of electro-optic and north-finding devices for military and law enforcement applications. John currently serves on the Board of the International Biometrics & Identity Association (IBIA).

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